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Dietary factors are recognized as having a significant effect on the risk of cancers, with different dietary elements both increasing and reducing risk. Diet, physical inactivity, and obesity may be related to up to 30–35% of cancer deaths. One review in 2011 suggested that total caloric intake influences cancer incidence and possibly progression.
While many dietary recommendations have been proposed to reduce the risk of cancer, few have significant supporting scientific evidence.Obesity and drinking alcohol are confirmed causes of cancer. Lowering the drinking of beverages sweetened with sugar is recommended as a measure to address obesity. A diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in red meat has been implicated but not confirmed, and the effect may be small for well-nourished people who maintain a healthy weight.
Some specific foods are linked to specific cancers. Studies have linked eating red or processed meat to an increased risk of breast cancer, colon cancer,prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer, which may be partially explained by the presence of carcinogens in foods cooked at high temperatures.Aflatoxin B1, a frequent food contaminate, causes liver cancer, but drinking coffee is associated with a reduced risk.Betel nut chewing causes oral cancer. The differences in dietary practices may partly explain differences in cancer incidence in different countries. For example, stomach cancer is more common in Japan due to its high-salt diet and colon cancer is more common in the United States. Immigrant communities tend to develop the risk of their new country, often within one generation, suggesting a substantial link between diet and cancer.
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